|ywca of jamestown
rich in heritage
branching out into the community
The Young Women's Christian Association of Jamestown is
celebrating its 124th year of leading the community in meeting the
needs and interests of women and their families. We have a long,
rich history of bringing the Jamestown community classes, clubs,
and programs that enrich and inspire. The story of the YWCA is
written in the lives of thousands of girls and women who have
developed a rich fellowship through learning new skills, developing
new friendships, and giving back to their community.
It began in a mission in the Ford block of Brooklyn Square.
There, a group of dedicated women came together out of concern
for the welfare and safety of the girls in their community. Their
interests were not only in providing a place for women to come
together, but also for their health, well-being, and financial needs.
In 1884, these visionary women, 40 in all, banded together to form what they called the Women's Christian
Association. Three well-known Jamestown organizations eventually developed: WCA Hospital, the Associated
Charities to help those in financial need, and the YWCA for social activity, and educational and spiritual classes.
In September 1905, the Women's Christian Association became the Young Women's Christian Association.
Among the first clubs organized by the YWCA was the Loving Service Club and I Will Trust (IWT) Club. Starting
in 1915, clubs for businesses and industrial girls began in earnest. These clubs gradually gave way to adult classes
With the coming of World War II, the YWCA became, almost overnight, the center of war work, Red Cross
activities, of home defense work, of patriotic leagues and of military drills.
Little girls came to the YWCA on Saturday mornings or before and after school for a long time to enjoy nutritious
meals and snacks and creative programming. Throughout the years, the YWCA continued to provide leadership
and space for teen activities. By 1969 the Y Teen Club became "Club 401" for girls and boys.
Since its inception, the Jamestown YWCA has been involved in the well-being of women. They have advocated
for better working conditions for women, and by providing for growth and education, they have seen women take
leadership roles in business and community affairs.
The Jamestown YWCA pioneered in inter-racial services. They initiated groups and activities for minority groups
with the leadership of Mrs. Anita McDonald, a devoted member of the YWCA Board and later President, and a
leader in advocating for racial justice.
Established in the 1960's the Mistletoe Mart was held annually in November through the mid 1990's. In 2004,
after a 10 year hiatus, the Mistletoe Mart was restarted with plans to make it an annual tradition again.
The YWCA preserves the best of our traditions while it focuses on the future. We serve our community and
provide much needed services. We empower women and their families to learn and grow. We work to promote
racial justice in our community.
The YWCA continues to serve the local community while it maintains strong ties with the national YWCA which
celebrated its 150th year in 2008.